Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 09:30


Samson Samsonov


Film Notes

Samson Samsonov is most decidedly a subject for further research: A genre auteur par excellence who proved himself equally apt at adapting the classics of literature, be they Čechov (Poprygun’ja, The Grasshopper, 1955), be they Višnevskij (Optimističeskaja tragedija, Optimistic Tragedy, 1963). Ognennye vërsty went down in the annals of cinema as the film that reinvented the Civil War actioner – a genre dormant for almost two decades, spiced up here with another variety of entertainment Soviet cinema at that point only rarely experimented with: mystery (let’s mention here that Samsonov would later direct an excellent adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1952 The Mousetrap, Myšelovka, 1990). Samsonov is quite open about his sense of historical lineage, sources of inspiration. The most important one, in fact, is pretty much spelled out early on in the film, when one character promises: “Putešestvie budet opasnym” (“The journey will be dangerous”), which is the first Soviet release title of John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939); that the motley band on a mission travels by tačanka should immediately bring to mind another perennial classic of Soviet action: Georgij e Sergej Vasil’ev’s Čapaev (1934), which features its fair share of machine gun-glory. Well, Samsonov certainly didn’t shy away from the Big Ones...! And delivered in style: The wonderfully ballsy battle scenes, rousing and dense, are alone worth watching the film. That Samsonov treated genre here as a be all and end all in itself earned him the admiration of, among others, Michail Romm – a master who also relished telling a good story for the sake of entertainment and nothing but.

Olaf Möller

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Nikolaj Figurovskij. F.: Fëdor Dobronravov. Scgf.: Nikolaj Markin. Mus.: Nikolaj Krjukov. Int.: Ivan Savkin (Zavragin), Margarita Volodina (Katja), Michail Trojanovskij (Šelakobìv), Antonij Chodurskij (Orlinskij), Vladimir Kenigson (Beklemišev), Evgenij Burenkov (Varëcha), Viktor Stepanov (Proška), Anatolij Osmol’skij (Alëša), Sergej Prjanišnikov (Vecchio Egor). Prod.: Mosfilm. 35mm. D.: 83’. Col.